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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Thursday, May 3

What a refreshing break we have in Jude 1:20-21 from the dark gloom of the previous texts!  We go from darkness to light; from judgment to grace!  To all who believe in the Lord, we find here a wondrous vista and plethora of encouraging promises of which no human element can ever suffice.

Like a turnoff from a dry and dusty road yielding an oasis, Jude now begins with the warm words, "dear friends."  He places us into an entirely new context of deliberation and destination.

He tells us to "build ourselves up" in our faith.  Let's face it - we are flabby!  The phrase "building up" has a visceral quality, invoking the calisthenics of the soul.  Studying God's word, meditating on His sovereign promises and allowing ourselves to be in fellowship with others will certainly do that.

Exuberance is not consigned to a select few.  The very Christian life is one of exercising both our gifts and our faith through discipline and devotion.  Next comes "praying in the Holy Spirit," which ostensibly may refer to speaking in tongues, but I doubt it, and am more inclined to believe he is invoking those principles found within the Lord's prayer versus babbling like the pagans or the Roman rote prayers devoted foolishly to Mary.   "Keeping yourself in God's love" does not infer that our salvation lies within our own hands, but rather that our responsibility is to "Abide in Him."

Finally, my "nemesis" is myself when it comes to this difficult issue of waiting.  In an age of immediate gratification, waiting is at best viewed as an obstacle to progress.  This waiting is settling one's hope of the infinite and incomparable glory awaiting us in its proper time.

I'm not the most patient guy.  Imagine waiting over 2000 years for the Lord's return.  Yet we do, because His promises are certain and true.  Knowing that there is something better coming is part of the hope we have in Christ!  Such then is the "mercy" of God as Jude closes this paragraph.

Mercy always has a triumphant element to it.  It is not pity.  Rather, mercy is God extending His hand to us when our hands are tied!  Dear friends we are, and dear friends we remain in God's efficacious grace.

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